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Benches, stands, ‘boxes and panels…!

December 23, 2016

So  – after a significant break in progress – i’ve realised that a daily or even weekly blog update on progress is unrealistic. But having this blog, not least as a place to dump all the useful info I need, remains a good thing. After a break in construction of about 12 months I started back on tasks that were not always directly car related – but always relevant. Updates are as follows:

1 – I have a new workshop – which is in the garage which is next to my house. This makes it much easier to pop out of an evening and just do a litlle bit of work. Fitting out the garage as a workshop has been a big task in itself – the worst job being sealing & painting the bare concrete floor. Two coats of watered down PVA (yes – like the glue you used as a child to stick paper & cardboard together) followed by 2 coats of Screwfix Floor Paint  (I went with Grey as it is a bit lighter than Red – these apparently being the only two choices for floor paint!) seems to have sorted it.

2- I have (mostly) made an engine stand – which allowed me to get some welding practice in a non-critical place! It’ll also allow me to easily wheel the engine and gearbox onto the driveway, where there is more space to work on them. The choice of Hobbyweld gas for my MIG welder proved a great one – i’ve not welded in 18 months – so a rented bottle arrangement would not have been good!

3- My chassis has come home – as has the engine, diff and gearbox. The chassis now sits on a large dolly – which means I can wheel it out of the garage onto the driveway very easily.

4- I have mostly cleaned up my gearbox – the recommendation from the chap at Wilco Motor Factors  of the cheapest engine degreaser they had proved a good one. I will need to replace the rear oil seal, find a new reversing light switch (having mangled the original one at some point when hefting the ‘box around) and work out what to do about blanking the speedo drive off – before painting the whole thing. But that aside – i’m just planning on refilling it with oil and dropping it in place.

5- I have made the rear bulkhead and transmission side panels and have almost completed drilling and trimming them ready for fixing. The alu is 1mm ‘half hard’ in a 5000 series (5251 I think) – it came in a 1250 x 2500 sheet at a cost of £42 from a local metal supplier . I bought some Silverline tin snips (left-hand, right-hand and straight ahead) but found them hard to use neatly – the trusty jigsaw with a standard metal blade in it has been much better (I actually broke the 25 year old Bosch jigsaw Dad gave me – and was amazed to find that I could still get replacement parts on-line).  The clecos I bought from Las Aerospace were finally put to good use – and are excellent. I only made one mistake – cutting the drivers side panel out with the protective film on the wrong side – but I can probably reuse that metal elsewhere – for some other smaller panels I still need to fit – and I still have enough alu left to redo the panel the right way round…. The main lesson from this job is – things certainly won’t fit straight away – the panels won’t be neat and square like the diagrams in the Book –  and welds WILL get in the way of a nice snug fit!

I’m pushing on with structural jobs because I need to get my GRP bodywork into my garage by the end of January – and the best place to put it is going to be on the car!

The ‘what rivets to attach the panels’ question is the current issue to overcome – sealed aluminium rivets in 3.2 and 4.8mm is part of the answer – but which grip range, what countersink angle and where to buy them from is all still unresolved…!

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